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ˈtȯnt How to pronounce taunt (audio)
taunted; taunting; taunts

transitive verb

: to reproach or challenge in a mocking or insulting manner : jeer at
taunter noun
tauntingly adverb


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: a sarcastic challenge or insult

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Taunt vs. Taut

Taunt and taut may easily be confused. The words are similar in spelling and pronunciation, though the resemblance does not extent to their syntax or meanings. Taut is an adjective that is most often used to refer to something that is pulled tight, like "a taut rope," or is bulging or filled to capacity, like "taut muscles." Taunt is a noun and a verb that refers to teasing or making fun of a person. That the two words sound similar creates confusion, and taunt, being the more common word, is sometimes substituted for taut. You can remember the difference between the two by remembering that tight and taut both lack the n of taunt.

Choose the Right Synonym for taunt

ridicule, deride, mock, taunt mean to make an object of laughter of.

ridicule implies a deliberate often malicious belittling.

consistently ridiculed everything she said

deride suggests contemptuous and often bitter ridicule.

derided their efforts to start their own business

mock implies scorn often ironically expressed as by mimicry or sham deference.

youngsters began to mock the helpless wino

taunt suggests jeeringly provoking insult or challenge.

hometown fans taunted the visiting team

Examples of taunt in a Sentence

Verb The boys continually taunted each other.
Recent Examples on the Web
Then, once onstage, Drake seemed to taunt the crowd a bit. Mankaprr Conteh, Rolling Stone, 24 Feb. 2024 The videos keep coming: armed fighters taunting men with their hands tied behind their backs, bodies piled in an open grave. Alexis Okeowo, Vogue, 30 Jan. 2024 Did the Chiefs taunt more with no calls against them? Reader Commentary, Baltimore Sun, 29 Jan. 2024 With the Ravens down by 10 in the third quarter, rookie Zay Flowers caught a 54-yard pass to the Kansas City 10 — then was flagged for taunting after the play. Noah Trister, USA TODAY, 29 Jan. 2024 As officers attempted to wrangle another female protester, other demonstrators were shown taunting officers and attempting to pull them from the woman. Kyle Morris, Fox News, 3 Feb. 2024 Oxnard ‘swatting’ call, with police taunted via Ring camera, is part of federal indictment Dec. 19, 2022 The FBI searched Filion’s home July 15, and a warrant was later issued for his arrest. Karen Garcia, Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2024 TikTok knows Chew can’t play the game in quite the same way many of his Silicon Valley counterparts do (taunting the media, for example, will always be off-limits for him). Dexter Thomas, WIRED, 1 Feb. 2024 Compounding that 15-yard taunting violation, Flowers fumbled near the goal line. Tom Krasovic, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Jan. 2024
Now, the official Saudi response to these taunts is muted, and its policy toward its rivals is conciliatory. Bernard Haykel, Foreign Affairs, 12 Feb. 2024 The decision follows a 2020 incident in which Muller was accused of shouting racial taunts at victim John Mealor, knocking him unconscious before kicking him in the face. Kimmy Yam, NBC News, 26 Jan. 2024 Even with new faces, the taunts and trash talk are plentiful. Schuyler Dixon, USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2024 Their taunts barely registered above the din of other élite standoffs in recent years: Kanye West vs. Taylor Swift, Chrissy Teigen vs. Alison Roman, Lauren Boebert vs. Marjorie Taylor Greene. Evan Osnos, The New Yorker, 22 Jan. 2024 The crowd might have continued its taunt, but good luck hearing that over the sound of Zach Edey roaring. Gregg Doyel, The Indianapolis Star, 3 Jan. 2024 Graffiti scrawled across the back walls of the Local 50 office appeared to call out the union president and vice president by name with vulgar taunts and slurs. Gabriel San Román, Los Angeles Times, 6 Nov. 2023 California poet laureate Lee Herrick joined book clubbers Dec. 12 to perform two poems, recounted sharing his work in schools and at a prison and recalled how a racist taunt helped steer him toward a writing career. Donna Wares, Los Angeles Times, 6 Jan. 2024 The lies and taunts, which Musk engaged with on social media, turned his life upside down, Brody said. Donie O'Sullivan, CNN, 20 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'taunt.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



perhaps from Middle French tenter to try, tempt — more at tempt

First Known Use


1539, in the meaning defined above


circa 1527, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of taunt was circa 1527

Dictionary Entries Near taunt

Cite this Entry

“Taunt.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/taunt. Accessed 29 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition


: to provoke or challenge in a mocking or insulting manner : jeer at
taunt noun
taunter noun

More from Merriam-Webster on taunt

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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